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State lawmakers consider bills to stop hunters from using public data to find prey

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers are considering bills that would prohibit hunters from using state scientific data to help them bag their prey. The concern arose after a hunter used the Freedom of Information Act to learn where particular game birds can be found in larger numbers.

The bills cover data involving a variety of game species including deer, bears, wild turkeys and wolves.

Nick Green is with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. He says there is concern using state data may give hunters an unfair advantage.

“One person may not be able to detrimentally impact the population,” Green said. “But should this become common use or common practice among hunters, there’s certainly the opportunity for a negative biological impact.”

If signed into law the legislation would allow the Department of Natural Resources to fine, jail or revoke the license of hunters using that kind of data.

Some government watchdogs are concerned the legislation could negatively affect government transparency in Michigan.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.